May 2009


Maternity staff are not always as sensitive as they could be to miscarriage sufferers, a new study from Ireland found.  

As a miscarriage sufferer this is not all that surprising to me (in fact, I wanted to write “well, duh”)… my own persoanl experience and many I know and have met would echo the same.  I thought my doctor was VERY chilly, I found the hospital to be very matter of fact.  Sure I get that they face patients with all kids of issues/grief every day.  But this was my baby.  “Just pretend to show some human side of yourself”, was what I wanted to scream.  

As a result of my chilly experience, I changed doctor, practice and hospital.  I was fortunate, I had options.  Not everyone does.

This lack of support for women and their families who suffer is why we started www.OurHopePlace.com  We want to help friends help their friends.  
Check out the story on the study, check out Our Hope Place…  maybe studies like these and our website will help women and their families to heal.

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From a recent letter to OurHopePlace.com:

Thank you for the link to your website, www.OurHopePlace.com. My miscarriage was almost 7 years ago. I started cramping on a Saturday afternoon, and lost our baby on Sunday morning.  Monday I was scheduled for our first ultra sound.  The memories of it don’t fade, but the pain does lessen.  I was given an angel pin during that weekend that I still wear on tough days. Your bracelet is a thoughtful and heartwarming gift.  I was able to heal enough to now have three healthy children.  God has been good to us.

I visited many many websites, and joined various support groups, all on my own. It was private to me, and I kept everything bottled up for quite some time.  My husband was great, but it was months before I opened up to my co-workers and friends.  I can now openly talk of that pregnancy and loss, and share  our thoughts, our emotions, our story. 

 Don’t take this the wrong way, but, I hope I NEVER have to share your website with anyone close to me.  But if need be, I WILL!

Thank you for what you are doing.

Jean

I will never forget Mother’s Day following my miscarriage.  Turns out it was a sad and a happy day all in one…

Sad:  well that is the obvious part, I wished I was pregnant.  I wished I was a mom… I wished I was very pregnant, with a healthy baby!

Happy:  Even if I wasn’t pregnant anymore, it was Mother’s Day, and my husband I have (great) mothers, and they deserved some celebrating.  I wasn’t sure if I would be up for it, in fact I dreaded the day, but when it arrived, I was ok.  Well, I was a little weepy in the morning, but a hot shower took care of that.  We went to a lovely brunch with my parents and my mother in law, and friends of my parents (their children were with in-laws).  My husband and parents were very thoughtful in planning the day — they suggested the brunch, they arranged for us to go to the non-kid seating.  We had great wines (yes, plural)…  and it turns out, we conceived our son that night.  He is now 4, and just came by to give me some cuddles.  🙂

So that day I was dreading, turned out to be a pretty good Mother’s Day afterall!  (Isn’t that the understatement!)

Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day!

Check out the new article on the NY Times Website:  Grieving a Miscarriage 

The key here is more people are talking about miscarriage…  more people are willing to share, let you know you are not alone, and help with the healing…  that is our mission at OurHopePlace.com  We want to demystify miscarriage and help with the healing.  Because you will move forward, but you won’t forget.  

PregnancyPregnancy 
(Illustration by Barry Falls)

In the comments here last week, several of you asked about miscarriage: Why won’t people stop saying “you can try again soon”? What is the “right” amount of grief? Are there more miscarriages now or does it just seem that way? What to tell the children about the baby who will not be?

I put these questions and others to Donnica Moore, an Ob/Gyn who is founder of the Sapphire Women’s Group and editor of the newly released book, “Women’s Health for Life.” (I am also using this post to put these questions to readers, so please add your thoughts and advice below.)

No data exists to tell us whether miscarriages are becoming more common, Moore says. “Even though there are more women having children at older ages, which increases the risk of miscarriage,” she explains, “there are also more women using contraception.” Meaning pregnancies that might otherwise have ended in miscarriage don’t occur in the first place.

What is certainly true, she believes, is that today more women know they are having a miscarriage. Just a few decades ago, many miscarriages were attributed to being late or counting wrong; now home tests can confirm a pregnancy within hours of a missed period.

In addition, tools such as ovulation predictors and more extensive reproductive interventions mean many know the exact moment of conception. “Women are more diligently trying to conceive, so they are really watching and testing,” Moore says. And if you are more likely to know you are pregnant, you are more likely to know you have lost a pregnancy.

All the factors that increase knowledge also magnify grief, Moore says. An infertility battle makes a loss of pregnancy feel like a failure. Hearing a heartbeat six weeks into a pregnancy, or seeing a 3-D sonogram image of a fetus at rice-sized stage, can sharpen the pain should that heartbeat stop. We can tell the gender with certainty before a real belly-bump appears. Rather than trying to hide pregnancy (as Moore’s mother did so she could keep her teaching job), women are now announcing early on “not only that they are pregnant but that they are trying,” Moore says.

Like so many social shifts, our traditions and expectations are playing catch up.

“Couples can feel there’s no socially accepted way to grieve,” Moore says. “If you lose a family member, people know how to do that, they know how to support you and grieve with you. But this is new territory for a lot of us. It’s a tragedy for people who have gone through it that might not be on the radar of people who have not.”